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George Campbell

Town Councillor & Deputy Mayor

Keith Tankard
Updated: 14 October 2009
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George Campbell was born in Sterling (Scotland) in January 1860. He arrived at East London in 1880 and began work as a railway ganger.

He attempted to go into private business as a contractor for railway construction, then became a forester working for the Forestry Department at Frankfort Hill but was eventually forced by the government to take up his farm holding at Toise River under his immigration grant. He found it impossible to work the land profitably, however, and again went into railway contracting.

Campbell eventually ended up at Cathcart where he opened a general dealer's store, butchery and bakery, and also became editor of the Farmer's Chronicle.

He retired at the age of 40 and, after his first return to Scotland since his emigration, he settled at East London in 1902 and for a time ran a sweet factory.

East London at the beginning of the 20th century was a town that was progressing fast. The 1890s was its golden age and the town was awash with prosperity which led to the introduction of electricity and a tramway service. Roads everywhere were being constructed.

The Anglo-Boer War added to this prosperity but then, within four years of the war ending, a recession hit the town. Progress slowed for several years, to be turned around again in about 1910.

Campbell was part of this era. He entered into local politics in February 1906 when he was elected for Ward 1 but resigned in May 1908 on account of his departure for Europe.

He had been elected Deputy Mayor in March 1908 but was forced to resign that post as well. When the Great War broke out in1914, he served as Recruitment Officer, at the rank of Captain. He later returned to the Council and served until his death.

He died on 3 August 1932 at the age of 72, and was buried at East London.

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